Marking Tish B'Av: Watch the short film, 40 Days of Teshuva

Marking Tish B'Av: Watch the short film, 40 Days of Teshuva

July 27, 2023

Today is Tisha B’Av, a day of Jewish collective mourning known as the saddest day of the year. We know many of you are fasting or marking the holiday in your own community.

Tisha B’Av historically marks the destruction of the two temples. In recent years, Jews and allies in our movement have gathered to collectively mourn the destruction caused by white supremacy.

At Bend the Arc, we know when we collectively mourn and refuse to turn away from destruction or pain, we grow our power to create justice.

This year we invite you to join us in marking Tisha B’Av by watching and reflecting on the short film, 40 Days of Teshuva.

Yehudah Webster blows a shofar at the 40 Days of Teshuva action

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Yehudah Webster asked a powerful question from his parents: “When you're at a loss for what to do physically, turn to the spiritual, turn to Torah. What would our ancestors do?"

Yehudah’s answer was to organize a 40-day long public action in New York with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice to cry out to the heavens, blow the shofar, and mourn the destruction of Black and Brown bodies at the hands of the racist systems that exist today. The action culminated on Tisha B’Av.

The 26-minute film about his 40 Days of Teshuva can be watched in full on YouTube, and the film creators at the IOWA Project have a discussion guide, panel recording, interviews, and more on their website.

They encourage us to:

  • Integrate Jewish spiritual tools and technologies into the work of social change and racial justice
  • Reflect on how we nurture and support Black leadership in our communities and justice work
  • Acknowledge and commit to uprooting our own racism

Our ancestors left Egypt as an erev rav (mixed multitude) to build a world of safety and thriving, but violence and destruction persist. Yehuda demonstrates how we can use the spiritual tools of Jewish tradition to face hard truths, take accountability, and grow our power to make Black lives actually matter in this country.

Act today for Tisha B’Av: Watch 40 Days of Teshuvah here.

In solidarity,

The Bend the Arc team

PS: Look out for a new installment of Your Safety is My Safety featuring Yehudah, coming next week.